If you are here because you own a Panama Hat or are planning to buy one, we already love you for the classy choice. Hand-woven Panama Hats made from Toquilla palm is a must in any hat lover’s collection. But when you have an adorable hat like this, wouldn’t you want to know how to wash a Panama hat? Because if you wear one, it’s likely to get dirty at some point in time, right?
So here we are with a complete guide on cleaning, caring, and washing Panama Hats. It’s not a big deal, but it’s not a small one either. With a bit of soap, water, and a whole lot of love, you can get your Panama hats so clean that it’ll be difficult to believe they were ever dirty!
So, are you ready to join the Mission – How to wash a Panama Hat? We sure are!
Can You Wash Panama Hats?
Yes and No.
It all comes down to what you mean by ‘washing.’ If you think of a regular hand wash or a machine wash, you’ll be disappointed to know that you cannot do either on your Panama hats.
So how else do you wash it?
Spot Clean is the best and safest method to wash your Panama hats.
Panama hats being made from natural straw is not very water-friendly. Extreme moisture will disintegrate and damage the straw of the hats. So, the lesser your Panama hats interact with water, the better.
What to Know Before Cleaning Panama Hats?
Before you jump in to wash the hats, here’s our golden checklist for washing them safely. Ensure you tick mark all the points and go have fun washing them!
1. Read the Care Label
The care label may look very small, but the information it holds is invaluable. A care label will give you all details regarding your hat – what material it’s made of, washing instructions, warnings, etc. Ensure you by heart your Panama hat’s care label before the main action.
2. AVOID Chemical Cleaners
Again, straw being a natural fiber, will be damaged if washed with chemical cleaners, including soaps or detergents. Always use natural, mild soap or detergent while spot cleaning your Panama hats.
3. ALWAYS Brush Your Hat Before a Wash
Sometimes a good brushing can solve all your Panama hat problems. Use a good-quality horsehair hat brush to brush off debris and dirt from the hat.
Even if your hat needs a spot clean, do not forget to brush them before the actual wash.
4. DO NOT Dry Hat Under Direct Sunlight
If you’ve done a spot clean, you’ll have to dry them. But never expose your hats to direct sunlight for drying. The direct heat is bad for the Panama hat straw.
How to Wash a Panama Hat
How to Spot Clean Panama Hat?
Now that we’ve reached the most awaited step let’s get into it already. If your Panama hat is stained at specific spots, spot cleaning would be the best option. It’s always better if you spot clean immediately once you see the stain. If you let the stain sit in your hat for days, weeks, and months, you’ll have to use riskier methods to get rid of the stains.
You can spot clean Panama hats in two ways – with soap and without soap. If the stains have seeped into the hat fibers, you’ll need to spot clean using soap. Let’s see how.
Step 1: Prepare Soap Solution
In a cup or bucket filled with warm water, add a small amount of soap. Mix the two well so that the soap is dissolved in water completely.
Step 2: Scrub the Stains
Dampen the soft cloth and gently start working on specific stain areas in quick, circular motions along the grain of the hat. Ensure that the cloth isn’t fully saturated.
Be EXTRA careful while scrubbing the hat. Ensure you don’t rub the stains into the weave of the hat, making it difficult to get rid of the stains.
Alternatively, you can use baby wipes or facial wipes to scrub the stains off the hat.
Step 3: Wipe Residual soapy water and dirt
Use a non-abrasive clean cloth to remove soapy water and dirt from the surface of the hat. Ensure no left-over soap remains because soap can cause staining.
Step 4: Dry the Hat
Once the spot clean is done, find a spot with good air circulation and let the hat air-dry.
If your stains are superficial, you don’t need to use soap. Dampen a clean cloth in cool water and rub the stains along the grain of your Panama. That should do the job!
How to Clean Juice, Oil, or Blood Stains from Panama Hats?
If you have tougher stains like juice, oil, or blood spill on your Panama hats, add a few drops of ammonia to the above soap mixture. Apply it to the hat using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Let the mixture sit on the hat for about 2-3 minutes, giving enough time for ammonia to seep into the stains. Scrub the hat with the brush along the grain gently.
But always be careful while using ammonia. Wear gloves so that there is no skin contact with ammonia.
How to Clean Sweat Stains from Panama Hat?
Stinky sweat stains are a pain, and we know it better than anyone else. The best way to get rid of sweat stains is to dry your Panama hats right after use. Lay it upside down on a flat surface and at a spot with good airflow.
You can also use straw hat cleaners, but ensure you read the instructions well and use them with care.
How to Maintain Panama Hat’s Shape?
If you own a Panama, you already know this. But if you’re someone who’s planning to buy one, you need to know this. Panama hats can lose shape easily but restoring them is also easy if done carefully.
- If your Panama Hat’s brim gets distorted, you can use an iron on low heat to straighten it out. But ensure you place a clean cloth in between the iron and the hat. At no cost can the iron come in contact with the hat directly. Direct heat will burn your Panama hats.
- If you want to re-shape your Panama hat, you can also stuff the inside of the hat with a clean white cloth or tissue papers. Doing so will help the hat hold its shape.
Can You Fold Panama Hats?
It really depends on the quality, weave, and the brand of Panama Hat that you own. Check your care label or confirm it from the shop you bought the hat from.
Even though you can fold most Panama Hats, it is not advised to keep them folded for too long. The straw can crack.
How to Fold Panama Hats?
Panama Hats are a must when you are on a trip, picnic, or vacation. And it’s a task to carry your Panamas safely inside the suitcase without getting them crushed. That is why you need to fold them to fit well inside a suitcase or a bag.
- Before folding your Panama hat, check whether the hat is brittle due to heat or dryness. If yes, sprinkle a small amount of water before folding the hat.
- Hold the hat in a way that the crown is facing towards you horizontally.
- Bring together the two ends at the base of the hat to make a fold. It’ll have a curved, bowl-like shape now.
- Roll the hat again from one side to the other, and it resembles almost like a folded newspaper. Use a cloth or a scarf and loosely tie the hat.
And like we said, do not keep your Panama hats folded for too long!
How to Care for Panama Hats?
1. Storing the Hats
The most important step to caring for your Panama hats is storing them well. And there can be nothing better than a hatbox. The Panama hat straws are extremely sensitive to heat and light. The fibers can dry out, dehydrate and crack, leaving the hats with a tattered appearance.
2. Brush the Hat Once a Week
If you are a regular Panama hat wearer or not, you’ve got to brush your hat once a week. It will help keep your hats clean and fresh and reduce your chances of giving the hat a soap and water bath!
3. NEVER Hold the Hat by Crown
It’s one of the common mistakes that we tend to make. To hold the Panama hats by their crown. It is wrong as it will distort the hat’s shape. The right way is always to hold it by the brim.
Also, whenever you place the hat down, place it upside down so that the crown touches the base and the brim is in the air. This again protects the crown from damaging its shape.
We all know that Panama Hats don’t come cheap. And we don’t ever want to keep something that expensive dirty and stinky. How to wash Panama Hats can never be a troubling question for you now. We’ve covered all that’s there to know about cleaning, caring, and washing them. All you need to do is follow our instructions, and you can rock that beach look in your bright and shiny Panama Hats!